How to Stay Warm Walking in the Rain

Posted by Karen Nierlich on

This last winter I went to Point Reyes for the weekend and it rained 90% of the time. Our school group was there to see the landscape and hike, so we set out to hike despite the fact it was raining off and on. When I got back, I was really, truly soaked through but not cold and I was smitten with walking in wet weather. 

It also feels a bit rebellious and rugged to do something we've been told not to do and so many people avoid. And the Point Reyes landscape was transformed and full of drama. I look tons of snaps of the rain falling on the creek surface, rain drops on leaves, and the shining greens under dark, cloudy skys. 

With my obsession with moss, I often want to be out just after the rain. Last winter I was out hiking between, after and during rain storms. Using my new knowledge of who to dress, I can go outside and can stay warm (if not dry.)

How to Stay Warm in the Rain

1. Don't hike in lightening storms or major storms. Know your limits and try out this walking-in-the-rain idea on a shorter hike first. Also, last time I walked in the forest there were lots of newly fallen trees and creaking tree, so that might be a hazard in some areas.  

3. Staying Warm - the secret here is to put a synthetic layer on your feet, legs and torso. I used ski socks, synthetic thermal pants and a nylon running shirt.

4. Head gear - A baseball hat is great because it keeps a lot of the rain off your face and lets you see better. Some hikers like to pull the hood of their jacket over the cap. If it's windy, I wear a ski cap instead of a baseball cap to cover and protect my ears from wind.

5. Jackets and pants - You have a couple of options to try here. You could wear a water-proof or water-resistant jacket and/or pants. But if you are out for long enough, you'll get wet anyway. And you might get overheated in a water-proof jacket.

My husband and I have been wearing a fleece pull-over on top of the running shirt. We are getting 100% soaked but staying warm. One caveat is our climate in Northern California isn't so cold. 

6. Foot Gear - wear waterproofed boots or if you are in a warm climate, wear tennis shoes over your ski socks. Again, your feet will get wet but stay dry. 

7. Pick Your Trail with Care - Trails near creeks, streams, and waterfalls are dramatic during the rainy season and great to visit. However, I have encountered trials that turn into streams themselves and are very slippery; so try to stick to trails that aren't overly slippery. 

8. Get a warm cup of coffee or something...and revel in your adventure. 


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